July Spotlight – Dr. Dilushan Jayasundara

Dr. Dilushan Jayasundara

Sri Lankan Physicist Promoting Scientific Collaboration and Innovation

Summary

Dr. Dilushan Jayasundara, PhD is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics at University of Colombo and holds a visiting researcher position at Trinity College Dublin. He obtained his PhD in physics from University of Houston, U.S. His current research interest extends into areas of physics, chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology. Among his many scientific contributions the highlights are the invention of a novel process for graphene oxide synthesis to which a US patent was granted in 2019 and research on industrial effluent treatment based on the novel “waste to treat waste” concept; this innovative work led to the first sustainable solution for aluminum sludge waste management in the anodizing industry sector. An impressive number of scientific publications in credible journals, presentations, and patents further document the accolades of Dr. Jayasundara’s career.

Details

Dr. Dilushan Jayasundara is a SEDA-accredited senior lecturer in the Department of Physics at University of Colombo and also holds a visiting researcher position at Trinity College Dublin. He obtained his PhD in physics from University of Houston, USA and then joined the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin as a postdoctoral fellow. He has also served as Senior Research Scientist at Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC). Dr. Dilushan’s research is multidisciplinary, spanning into areas of physics, chemistry and material science. His expertise are specifically in surface and interface physics and chemistry, functional coatings, surface functionalization, chemical and gas sensing, developing materials for water purification, and industrial quality control through NDT methods. Dr. Dilushan has received grants through the National Research Council (NRC) Sri Lanka, National Science Foundation (NSF) Sri Lanka and Treasury funding through University of Colombo. Some of his research is carried out in collaboration with industry partners and funded through leading private sector industries.

In 2015, with the help of four undergraduate students and two graduate students, Dr. Dilushan was able to set up the Materials Research Lab in the Department of Physics. In the same year he was able to set up a research collaboration with Trinity College Dublin to facilitate postgraduate research and training. The collaboration allows placement of a postgraduate student at Trinity College to carry out research for a period of six months. This not only facilitates research outcomes but also helps students gain much needed international exposure working at a world class laboratory. He is also an advocate for promoting impactful undergraduate research where most of his undergraduates have publications in international indexed journals. 

Dr. Dilushan was the Principal investigator of the research conducted for industrial effluent treatment using a novel concept based on “waste to treat waste” (patent pending). The research, started as an undergraduate project, was subsequently funded by a commercialization grant from MAS Pvt. Ltd. and carried out in collaboration with several local industries. The process developed under this research has a circular nature whereby aluminum sludge is re-tasked to clean water run-off from apparel manufacturing. This directly results in large-scale waste reductions as well as a significant drop in new material required to be added in, for all parties. Ultimately, this is truly revolutionary, because the process uses “waste to treat waste,” and not just in a marginal or superficial way, but with true impact. The positive benefits of this work are felt on all sides, since this method also totally eliminated the anodizing industry’s aluminum sludge being disposed as a waste material, facilitating the first fully sustainable solution for waste management in that sector.

Dr. Dilushan was also the lead investigator of the novel process developed for the synthesis of graphene oxide from graphite to which a US patent was granted in 2019. This invention, made during his tenure at SLINTEC, is now licensed and being used to add value to Sri Lankan graphite.   

Dr. Dilushan is an expert in nano-material synthesis; synthesis of graphene oxide (GO)/graphene; developing advanced functional coatings for sensing, self cleaning and antifouling applications; surface and electronic structure manipulations at nanoscale; structure-reaction studies of thin films; cryogenics and UHV (Ultra High Vacuum) Systems, including designing. In addition, he has extensive experience in experimental techniques of STM (Scanning tunneling microscopy), AFM (Atomic force microscopy), XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy), UPS (Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy), FT-IR (Fourier transformed infra-red spectroscopy), UV-Vis (Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy), SEM (Scanning electron microscopy), and CV (Cyclic voltammetry). 

Amidst his scientific ventures, Dr. Jayasundara serves as a director of the University of Colombo, Science and Technology Cell which was established to function as the technology transfer centre for the Faculty of Science through creating university-business linkages and to foster entrepreneurship. He is a board member of the Centre for Data Science at the Faculty of Science that facilitates research and development in Data Science in Sri Lanka through collaborations with local and international experts both from academia and industry. While furthering his own career, Dr. Jayasundara has also invested in the growth and development of many ambitious students and young scientists from Sri Lanka. He is the immediate past president of Sri Lankan Academy of Young Scientists (SLAYS), which is affiliated with the Global Academy of Young Scientists (GYA) whose mandate is to promote scientific collaboration among young scientists for economic and scientific growth. Originating from a multi-ethnic, multi-religion culture in Sri Lanka, Dr. Dilushan  believes that  young scientists of Sri Lanka should play a major role in bringing peace and harmony among these cultures through working together in developing science that could bring significant economic benefits to uplift the livelihoods of these societies. 

This is only a summary of Dr. Jayasundara’s key positions and scientific contributions that promote research, innovation, teaching and learning. SLAKE would like to thank Dr. Jayasundara for his commitment to the sharing of knowledge, collaboration, and innovation particularly in the STEEMM fields, the mission SLAKE also shares. We look forward to his many future scientific successes and eagerly await the accolades of the young scientists he has generously guided.

See the Youtube Video link below for a session Dr. Jayasundara did with IQ Labs on final year research projects in Sri Lankan Government universities.

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